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I'm trying to convince a client that adding pop-up or pop-unders isn't worthwhile. The argument "pop-ups are annoying and your users won't return" doesn't work because it's not the kind of site that people will visit regularly -- just buy and leave.

I'd like to be able to look at the site's traffic data and point to the very high percentage of users who are using browsers which not only have pop-up blockers but have them turned on by default.

Can anybody provide a list of browser versions which have the pop-up blocker enabled in the standard installation?

Alternately, are there other good data points which demonstrate the ineffectiveness of pop-ups?

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Off of the top of my head I think all of the major browsers have pop up blocking enabled by default. – John Conde Jan 19 '11 at 15:36
Me too, I'd like some source that verifies our hunches – Doug Harris Jan 19 '11 at 15:45

The way you have worded the question implies you don't have access to the clients traffic data (if they have an existing website at all) If you had access to this it would make the task a lot easier!

To attempt to directly answer some of your questions:

"Can anybody provide a list of browser versions which have the pop-up blocker enabled in the standard installation?"

This was the best I could find: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Comparison_of_web_browsers#Accessibility_features

In terms of usage stats this was the best I could manage in a hurry. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Usage_share_of_web_browsers

Now my general advice. What information do they want the pop up window to contain? Special offers? Advice on navigating the site? A welcome message?

All of these would be visible for longer in the main content of the main browser window - and with appropriate styling they can be made just as prominent as a pop up window, if not more so.

What I also try is asking them to think about the big players online amazon, play, and any other reputable or popular shopping site they like using. You can almost guarantee they don't use pop up windows. If they don't, there is a pretty good reason for it.

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They want to show a special offer which displays as somebody tries to leave the page. – Doug Harris Jan 20 '11 at 14:12
Is it a special offer which only applies if a customer doesn't buy something? Like some sort of online haggling? Interesting idea. – MrG Jan 20 '11 at 15:33

Unfortunately, you are probably wrong. Pop-ups are everywhere because they work. One of the sites I manage uses a pop-up and not only does it directly generate a good amount of business, our returning visitor numbers have improved since it was implemented (probably because of other factors, but still).

Instead of having a theoretical debate, why not indulge them with a test? Setup the site with a pop-up and see how your numbers change. Better yet, do an AB split and expose half your visitors to the pop-up and leave the other half alone and then compare the two segments and see which of the two groups converted better.

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Interesting points... but doesn't really get to the data I'm looking for about browsers which have pop up blocking enabled. – Doug Harris Jan 19 '11 at 20:06
Pop-ups aren't everywhere though. Compared to the mid-to-late 90s, popups are all but extinct. In fact, most advertising agencies discourage the use of pop-ups (in-window alternatives like page takeovers, page overlays/floating ads, wallpapers, rich banners, expandable ads, sidekick ads, etc. are much preferred). The only places I see pop-ups (which I see less than once a month despite spending all day on the web everyday) are spammy foreign sites. – Lèse majesté Jan 20 '11 at 0:26
Install a fresh copy of IE with no customization, onto a fresh windows install...even with all the security updates, and browse big name sites....guaranteed pop ups. – picxelplay Jan 20 '11 at 0:43
Which big name sites have pop ups? – Lèse majesté Jan 20 '11 at 12:05
Off the top of my head, hp, pretty much all your news sites, merriam webster (or dictionary.com...can't remember) – picxelplay Jan 21 '11 at 8:20

Specifically for Firefox and Ad Block Plus: https://addons.mozilla.org/en-US/statistics/addon/1865. It has 107,409,448 downloads, and 12,885,006 active users.


Download counts are updated every day and only include original add-on downloads, not updates.

Update Pings

Add-ons downloaded from this site check for updates once per day, and the total number of these update pings is known as Active Daily Users. Active Daily Users (ADU) can be broken down by add-on version, operating system, add-on status, and application.

All Addons have Downloads Count/Statistics. Go to the addon's main page, and it will be in the first main section of info.

But also, Firefox has blockers in its core options, and am not sure the data on that. Try doing a google search for it.

I am sure Chrome, IE, Opera, Safari might have similar statistics. Just do some digging.

Try this article.....at the bottom are some total stats: http://www.digitalopinionator.com/other-news/ad-blocking-software-statistics/

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I've gone digging and didn't come up with anything. I'm not looking for stats about general adblocking but about browsers which have pop-up blocking enabled. – Doug Harris Jan 19 '11 at 20:59
That's the best you are going to get, because no main browser offers ad blocking straight out of install. The user has to enable or install it themselves. – picxelplay Jan 19 '11 at 21:06

All major browsers (i.e. >95% of users) have pop-up blockers, so uninitialised pop-ups - for example on window.load - will never work.

Unfortunately, many sites get around that by opening pop-ups when the user clicks on the page. You click a link and said link opens the page fine, but some Javascript has just opened a pop-up window. It's very prevalent on those spammy image gallery sites like 2leep.

So if it's a pop-up opening on page load, it will be blocked. But if it's a pop-up opened on click it should load fine.

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I'm looking at popping up a window on window.unload. I agree with your estimate of >95% but I'm looking for data. – Doug Harris Jan 20 '11 at 14:16

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